The least fun quarterback battle in the NFL got even less fun Monday, as Blaine Gabbert suffered a sprained right ankle when one of his offensive linemen stepped on his ankle.
Head coach Gus Bradley described the injury as "a freak deal" while confirming it was a sprain. According to WJXT anchor Michael Kelly, Gabbert was moving up while right guard Uche Nwaneri was getting pushed backwards by a defensive lineman, and Nwaneri's foot -- and weight -- ended up on the ankle of the No. 10 pick in the 2011 draft. Gabbert had to be helped off the field, per SB Nation's Alfie Crow.
There's no guaranteed starter between Gabbert and Chad Henne, who have been splitting reps thus far in training camp. Crow reports that Gabbert had looked especially bad on the first two days of camp, but had made strides on Sunday before his ankle injury Monday.
Gabbert, now in his third year in the league, threw for 1,662 yards last season on 58.3 percent with nine touchdowns and six picks before his season was ended by a torn labrum. Henne had 2,084 yards on 53.9 percent with 11 touchdowns and 11 picks. Although not great, Gabbert's year was a vast improvement on his rookie season, when he was sacked 40 times and fumbled 14 times -- a league high -- while completing just 50.8 percent of his passes.
The feeling is that things were headed Gabbert's way, but this injury obviously puts a dent in that. Ankle sprains can vary pretty widely in severity, and it's not clear how bad this one is.
Also on the depth chart are Mike Kafka, who had a cup of coffee in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles when both Michael Vick and Vince Young were hurt in 2011, and undrafted rookie Matt Scott. Both are fighting to make the team, and now one will have a chance to take backup reps.